Built for the family business

Shawn Murphy already is putting construction management skills to work

By Bob Cunningham

Even though Shawn Murphy comes from a construction family, he believes his career will be built to last thanks to his degree from Bowling Green State University.

Murphy, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in construction management from the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, already started working for his family’s company, Mid-Ohio Development Corp., in mid-November. He will remain living in Bowling Green through the end of his apartment lease while commuting to a job site in Lima.

Murphy grew up in Granville, Ohio, 30 minutes northeast of Columbus and has been on job sites with the family business since he was a kid.

“My family has a history in construction management,” said Murphy, who is graduating with a 3.7 GPA. “With my dad owning a construction company, I’ve been around job sites as long as I can remember, so that really sparked an interest in the profession. With the industry coming back up and the market being so high, it’s kind of a no-brainer career-wise with the background I have in the industry.”

When researching prospective colleges, Murphy only visited two schools: the University of Cincinnati and BGSU.

Murphy met Travis Chapin during his BGSU on-campus visit, and that sealed the deal.

“I can honestly say the moment I met Travis, his love for teaching and the construction industry was absolutely the reason I chose BGSU,” Murphy said. “There was no other program that could come close to the inspiration, motivation or knowledge that Chapin or the BGSU College of Technology staff could provide.”

Murphy also singled out Joe Lavalette, lecturer, and Lisa Schaller, instructor, both in construction management who went above and beyond the call of duty during his time at Bowling Green.

“There’s been multiple times being in the field the last few summers I’ve been able to reach out to Joe or Lisa or any of the professors here, and they’ve always been available to answer my questions,” said Murphy, who also was an active member in the Students in Construction Management Association. “The coursework at BGSU really prepared me for life after BGSU.”

“There are advantages and disadvantages with working in the family business. I didn’t want to be the guy who comes in and just rides to the top because my last name is Murphy. I want to start in the field and prove myself, and I believe BGSU has put me in a position to do that.”

As a construction management student, Murphy was required to take three co-ops. He said his experiences outside the classroom had invaluable benefits.

“The co-ops required at BGSU were more hands-on, which were a good fit for my personality,” said Murphy, whose first co-op was at Robertson Construction Services in Heath, Ohio. “Plus, the way the classes at BGSU line up for your first co-op, I felt that was going to better prepare me. I went into my first co-op, which is more of an office-based situation, and was able to learn the ropes.”

Murphy then had co-ops with Kiewit Corp. in Phoenix and Dallas. In Phoenix, Murphy was a field engineer on a job for a $20 million water treatment plant. In Dallas, he worked as a foreman of a crew, managing seven people.

When it came time to choose between working long-term for Kiewit or Mid-Ohio Development, Murphy had a tough choice.

“It was really hard not to choose Kiewit because they are a tremendous company,” he said. “They recruit very heavily out of BGSU. This summer, they had nine BGSU co-ops in just the office I was working in. Four out of the top five guys I worked for in Dallas were all BGSU graduates. It’s great to see that — they love BGSU.”

In the end, having a chance to prolong his family’s legacy was just too important for him to pass up.

“Ultimately, I decided to join Mid-Ohio Development and help the family business grow throughout the Central Ohio construction industry,” Murphy said. “My dad was appointed by my grandfather who founded the company in the ’60s. I’ve worked with my dad a lot and all of my uncles who are in the company.

“There are advantages and disadvantages with working in the family business. I didn’t want to be the guy who comes in and just rides to the top because my last name is Murphy. I want to start in the field and prove myself, and I believe BGSU has put me in a position to do that.”